Newsletter #8 Last Night A DJ Saved My Life...
It is finally less hot. But not un-hot. Very grouchy about it tbh.
Hello, my lambs! Welcome back…still struggling to get back on the Tuesday schedule, but Wednesday ain’t bad. Speaking of Wednesday - I hope you all picked up BLACK WIDOW #8 out TODAY…boy, I ruined our “This Week!” section already. Good job, Thompson.
Let’s just take a moment to bask in the glory that is Elena Casagrande’s latest Black Widow action spread:
I talked about the De Luca effect a couple newsletters ago, and this isn’t a great example of that specifically because Elena did actually use panels here - but I think her panel choices are GENIUS - the way they lead the eye through a complex scene, the way they feel a little bit like sound waves…growing larger as Nat’s fight does. Brilliant.
I saddled Elena with a particularly difficult task on this spread in that not only did we want a gorgeous fight sequence, but we needed Nat to free Yelena and Yelena to pass on information to her. Extremely tricky to pull off in this style and yet, look…it’s magnificent.
What I’m Doing!
I said a thing about everyone buying Black Widow #8, right? Adam Hughes’ terrific cover looks like this, can’t miss it!
An all-new edition of my first graphic novel HEART IN A BOX with art/colors/letters by the incredible Meredith McClaren is out 7/14/21!
I never really know how to pitch this book to new readers. It’s definitely unconventional and “indie” compared to my Marvel superhero stuff, if that’s what you’re used to reading from me. It’s a story about heartbreak and the search to make yourself whole again…by any means necessary…and not always GOOD means. But it’s also got a bit of action and a bit of humor…you know, the usual…the kind of stuff I like to write.
It’s one of my most emotional works (I’d put it right up with the first Black Widow arc actually). Sometimes PR people compare it to SCOTT PILGRIM — and I can see that if I squint — there are some fantastical elements in an otherwise really grounded story of heartbreak and finding yourself and weird road trips. And there’s a mission of sorts that comes in parts not unlike Pilgrim too (Pilgrim’s got 7 exes and we’ve got 7 pieces of a heart). So if you like Pilgrim you might like this too? Give it a try!
Here’s the cover so you know what to look for and also a favorite interior panel of mine:
I’m not sure how well this fits in the process section…could also fit in Q&A since it’s something I get asked a lot - some version of: “DO YOU USE PLAYLISTS TO WRITE AND CAN WE SEE THEM?”
My usual answer is YES. BUT NO, YOU CANNOT SEE THEM. because I am A) Lazy and B) Don’t want to be shamed? Idk? Something in that vein? Sharing music makes me feel shy…it’s so personal. But I love you guys and you’ve been really great so far about this whole newsletter thing, so I’m breaking all the rules for you.
So yes, I use playlists constantly. And in fact (as evidenced by the title of this newsletter) don’t really know if I could even write without music…music has saved my writing ass many many times - and as recently as last week.
The short version of the story of how I started using playlists is that I had made a playlist for the novel I was writing (STORYKILLER) and I would listen to it when writing (duh). But one day when out walking in NYC I was listening to music and the Storykiller playlist came on and I was almost overcome with a desire to get home and begin writing. So I had accidentally created a sort of Pavlov response to the playlist.
As a writer…when you stumble upon something that will actually help you put words on a page YOU LEAN ALL THE WAY IN.
So I made playlists for every project I was writing immediately.
And I use it constantly, especially when I need to change gears between projects quickly…it’s like flipping a switch to get my brain where it needs to be. Completely invaluable. Sometimes especially great/favorite songs make it onto multiple lists, but I try to avoid that as much as possible so that they can exist as better “triggers” for books - using one song on all your playlists really muddies the waters fast.
So here’s (most) of the playlist I used to write the first volume of Black Widow. Enjoy! You might even recognize lyrics from one of the songs in the actual volume.
Break Away - Art Garfunkel
Porno - Clinic
Voices Carry - ‘Til Tuesday
T.N.T. - AC/DC
A Real Hero (feat. Electric Youth) - College
Grip Like A Vice - The Go! Team
June - Pinback
Genesis - Justice
I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock of Seagulls
Touch It/Technologic - Daft Punk (Alive 2000)
Pot Kettle Black - Tilly and the Wall
Freedom - Jurassic 5
Battle Royale - Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Know How - Young MC
Intergalactic - Beastie Boys
Take On Me - A-ha
Video Killed The Radio Star - The Buggles
Feels Like The First Time - Foreigner
Personal Jesus - Depeche Mode
Clearest Blue - Chvrches
The Night Is Still Young - Nicki Minaj
I Can Be Somebody (feat. Erin McCarley) - Deorro
Nobody Speak (feat. Run The Jewels) - DJ Shadow
Cruel World - Patrick Grossi/Active Child
I’m not sure if this counts as an announcement since it’s not me announcing something for the very first time, but instead me repeating a big announcement that was made last week?
The judges are silent. I’ll take that as a firm PROCEED.
So it got announced last week that I’m part of the team doing an awesome new AMAZING SPIDER-MAN arc that begins in the fall. You can read more about it here, I’ll just add that I have had an incredible time working on this so far. We have a badass team and what I believe is a really terrific story to tell. The fantastic Pat Gleason is part of the writing team and also drawing some issues and doing A LOT of the design work so you know it looks great…and when you guys find out the artist on my first two issues…well, it’s a dream come true pairing for me, which is about all I can say! I hope you guys will love it. And thanks for all the love about it on social. <3
WHAT I’M DOING!
Lotta deadlines right now…but when I take breaks we have been absolutely PLOWING through DARK (Netflix). Highly recommended so far (we just finished season 2) if you like dark intricate stories with a lot of badass sci-fi stuff.
I don’t want to give too much away as it’s really an incredible journey of a show…but I will give two warnings - it’s German and thus subtitled, which I know is not for everyone. And also, you REALLY gotta pay attention. There are A LOT of characters and it’s an incredibly complex story…you can’t drift out for a minute with this show or you risk missing everything. I don’t want to say why (again, don’t want to spoil things) but for very good plot reasons it can also be hard to tell some of those many characters apart. I think Adam and I have quite high “media IQs” (yeah, that’s a thing I just made up…let’s just roll with it) and we have both struggled with keeping track of characters. But the fact that we’re so in love with it, despite that struggle, just speaks to how damn good it is.
Also, not to get into this The Leftovers controversy again, but I feel like both shows share a lot of similarities in theme (and some in execution) and yet I love this and have from the jump. I know I haven’t finished Dark yet, so there’s still time for it to go awry, but pound for pound my enjoyment with Dark vs Leftovers is night and day.
I also got a chance to read an advance of Ed Brisson and Lisandro Estherren’s CATCH & RELEASE…which is absolutely terrific. I’m a big fan of both Ed the person and Ed the work, but this is one of my favorite things he’s done in awhile. Smart, tight, crime stuff that’s got a dark and complicated heart. Love it. And Estherren’s work is so evocative while also being tight and efficient. He somehow managed this looseness in his work that I really respond to and yet everything is sharp as hell. It’s a fascinating combo that I really enjoyed. This is not available quite yet - but keep your eyes peeled - it’s coming soon!
I just call this one LAUNDRY BOYZ.
Thanks for reading, my lambs. Talk to you next week! <3